Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

September 21, 2012

Concord seeks to snap two-game skid

ATHENS —  The Concord University football team will look to snap its two-game losing streak this afternoon when they go on the road for the first time this season to play West Virginia State (1-2) in Institute.

 The Mountain Lions (1-2) will also be trying to extend their winning streak over the Yellow Jackets to four consecutive years.

 The sting of last week’s 17-14 loss to Charleston has been soothed by a good week of practice, said Concord head coach Garin Justice.

 “We’ve really done a good job this week of just having fun, and enjoying ourselves,” he said. “I think the guys are going to go out and do that.”

 Concord has apparently settled on a freshman running back to energize an attack that is averaging 73.7 yards a game.

 “I think we proved who our running back was last Saturday with Calvinaugh Jones,” Justice said. “Calvinaugh will get a lot of carries; Chris Rodriguez will continue to get some carries. And we’re going to mix another freshman, Jacorey Robins, into the mix.”

 Justice said that the coaches will “see who has the hot hand.” He’s looking for both the explosive big run and the consistent “five- and four-yarders that kept the chains moving. ... Hopefully, we can combine them together and get something special.”

 Quarterback Albert Rose gets his second start after impressing his coach last Saturday. The freshman was completing 80 percent of his passes until the offense had to go to a desperation passing game late in the fourth quarter.

 Justice said, “Albert was playing a solid, good football game. Albert’s a good decision-maker; he doesn’t put the team into a bad position with the football. He keeps the drive alive.”

 Rose ran an option attack in high school in Florida, and Justice said that has been merged into the offensive playbook. “That’s a role we’re going to continue to develop with him,” Justice said. “We’re excited about Albert. It changes the dynamic of who we are — but it’s fun, as coaches, to reinvent yourself.”

 On defense as well, the coach said that because of injuries, “We’ve had a lot of guys step up. ... Mike Carey’s played the last two weeks and done a great job. Guys like Austin Dotson and Ervin Moore, playing that ‘buck’ outside linebacker position, have done a nice job.”

 West Virginia State opened up with a three-point win against Johnson C. Smith, followed by two blowout losses to FBS schools, North Carolina A&T and Elon.

 State is “an improved football team,” Justice said. “They have a very talented quarterback, a talented running back who’s also an excellent returner for them. They’ve got some guys who can make some plays, and we’re going to have to go out and have a good day.”

 Ricky Phillips, the Yellow Jackets scrambling quarterback, is 30 of 70 passing for 415 yards. Runner-returner Aubura Taylor averages 164 all-purpose yards per game.

 Justice said, “Defensively, we only gave up touchdown last Saturday. The defense is playing great. It hurt, offensively, that we had a couple of penalties that shot us in the foot, and we had the fumble [returned by Charleston for a touchdown] that kind of broke everybody’s back.”

 “But we’re getting it. ... Our defense has done a nice job. The Wesleyan game last year was probably the last time the defense had a bad game. Other than that, they’ve been the strength of our team, and they’ll continue to be that.”

 Game time is 1 p.m. at Lakin Field on the West Virginia State campus.


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